I would say that “the blogs were abuzz” with this news, but that wouldn’t be the case, since blogs aren’t the place where those conversations are happening anymore – it’s all on Facebook, and to a lesser extent, on Twitter. So, yes, I saw some FB conversations on this, all of which featured the predictable tut-tutting about Vatican II and not going back and exclusion and such.
Well, all I can say is that if your feelings are hurt and you don’t feel affirmed because the priest isn’t looking at your face for part of Mass….
…I don’t know what to say.
Versus populum is an *anomaly* in the history of liturgical churches. For most of the history of the Roman Rite, Mass was celebrated ad orientem. Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox? Behind a screen, for heaven’s sake. And, as readers and I discussed in a thread from my previous blog way back when, it is not unseen in some Protestant denominations, either. High Church Anglicans, of course, but even some Lutherans.
As it happens, last weekend, we attended Mass in South Carolina, and this happened:
It was at Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island. Stella Maris is a lovely, tiny church. I had hoped that it might be a little less crowded this time, since the summer season was, of course, over, but it was not to be. The place was packed, with, I believe, the overflow area packed as well. Fortunately, we got there just in time to get a seat in the main body of the church – which, as I said, is tiny and historic. It can’t be physically expanded…so they just have to pack them in in whatever way they can.
Tons of servers, good music, solid, focused preaching. Post-Mass prayers, which, in my limited experience, are becoming more and more common in the southern Catholic churches.
And, of course, the Eucharistic Prayer prayed ad orientem. The fact is, the sanctuary is too small to accommodate another freestanding altar, and that is just fine. It was all done matter-of-factly with no fuss and it didn’t seem that the engaged, loudly-singing congregation felt excluded, alienated and crushed by clerical privilege, but who knows, I could be wrong.